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On February 13th, Prof. Oriol Iglesias (Lic&MBA 98 / PhD 06) – director of ESADEs Marketing Department, director of the ESADE Brand Institute and coordinator of GRECOMAR (ESADE’s consumer and brand research unit) – gave an interesting lecture about the key factors in brand experience management.
Oriol Iglesias began his talk by pointing out that service brands have been totally overlooked by marketing and that their success or failure in the near future will depend on their brand experience management.
What is brand experience?
Prof. Iglesias defined this concept as a “long-lasting perception created in the minds of consumers and users after using a brand. When customers come into contact with a brand, a variety of brand touchpoints are established including information, booking a service, paying for it, using it, etc. At each touchpoint, customers experience a series of sensations that build up in their mind. Positive sensations add to the experience whilst negative sensations subtract from it, resulting in the company’s overall image. Iglesias gave examples of the brand experience of several companies, including one in particular which he experienced personally when he complained to Amazon about an order which he mistakenly believed had not arrived.
This negative experience was offset when the company sent the order once again. When he realised that the original order had indeed been delivered but not handed over to him, Iglesias apologised to the company, which replied that he could keep it. According to Oriol Iglesias, this is an example of how Amazon manages its brand experience extremely well in keeping with the motto of its founder, Jeff Bezos, “I’ve always believed that a brand is most what it does than what it says. In other words, brands are built on what they do, not what they say.
The importance of brand experience management
Iglesias gave three good reasons why the brand experience must be managed well. The first is the delivery gap, which reveals that although 80% of companies think they manage their brand well, only 8% of their customers agree, in other words, something is not being done right. Another weighty reason is the need to remedy the "leaky bucket" effect or churn rate, i.e. the steady loss of customers – a figure not taken into account when calculating a company’s growth rate. Telecom companies are a good example of this: losing customers a rate of 30-40% a year, they must now reconsider their aggressive tactics for winning customers over – and then failing to keep them. The third and last reason is to achieve as many “apostle customers as possible, i.e. those who are very satisfied with the brand and recommend it to other consumers.
How brand experience is managed
Brand experience is, together with medium-term vision and communication strategy, the third pillar of a company’s identity. So, what is needed first of all is a brand vision and leadership that involve the company’s senior management. Once this is achieved, the next steps can be taken: good market segmentation by social and demographic variables and, above all, emotional variables (motivations, needs, values); assessment of the customer’s touchpoints with the brand; design of the experience; and finally the creation of good customer relationship management (CRM).
The corporate structure must then take action within this well-defined framework and draw up metrics for all parameters in order to determine their returns.
Oriol Iglesias illustrated his talk with plenty of methods that can help manage the brand experience properly and, in response to a question from the audience, announced that this will be a priority in ESADE’s 2014-18 strategy plan.
See you there!
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